Call for arms! Big Tempe blood drive comes at critical time of need

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Blood banks across the nation and in Arizona need your help to make up for a winter blood shortage.

The Red Cross said it has received about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December.

Nearly 100 blood drives had to be canceled because of snowstorms and severe weather.

Sunday, United Blood Services of Arizona held their "Saving Arizona Blood Drive" at Tempe Center for the Arts.

"Whether they're going through cancer treatment like I did, or suffered a trauma lately, or even if they've been born premature, or the mother who just delivered and had a low blood count, those are the people you'll be helping," said blood recipient Kim Taynton.

Though now cancer-free, she had been diagnosed with leukemia and needed blood transfusions. 

"I was born with a rare blood disease which caused me to not make any red blood cells, so I had to have over 100 blood transfusions," said 16-year-old Hayley Elliot.

Christmas Eve through New Year's is the toughest time for the United Blood Services to attract donors. Donations drop, but the need doesn't. 

"We've just come off the most difficult 10 days of the year to maintain our state's blood supply, and that's followed by January, which is the highest blood usage month of the year," said Sue Thew with UBS Arizona. 

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O-negative, the universal blood that can be substituted for all other types in emergencies. 

"We have less than a one-day blood supply of O-negative, a one-day supply of O-positive, A-negative, B-negative, the shortages keep escalating," Thew said.

And since blood is separated into components, one donation doesn't just go to one person - it saves two to three.

"In just one hour, you could be a hero for an accident victim, a person undergoing surgery and a child receiving treatment for cancer," said Sid Lewis, senior donor recruitment director for United Blood Services Southwest Division. 

"I didn't just receive blood, I also received platelets," Taynton said. "So, when you come here to donate, you can donate platelets too and those both can help people."

To make an appointment, click here or call 1-877-UBS-HERO (1-877-827-4376).

[Google map: 700 W> Rio Salado Parkway]

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